Thursday, 30 April 2015

Rotokare@Rawhitiroa: Beautiful Butterflies

Rotokare@Rawhitiroa: Beautiful Butterflies: In Week 2, Ms J bought a big plant into school that had NO leaves at all on it! It may not have had any leaves, but it did have 8 green chr...

Rotokare@Rawhitiroa: Bottle house progress

Rotokare@Rawhitiroa: Bottle house progress: Our school is building a green house .... it

Ideas Welcome!

We would like your HELP please!!

Today we have had a digger in who has recovered a huge pile of land. We would appreciate any advice or ideas around what we could do with this area? 

Things we have considered:
- Fruit orchards
- Community vege garden

We are feeling overwhelmed!!

Totem Poles

 Term 1

Hawera Primary carried on working on our totem poles adding the finer details. 

Three years ago we painted four totem poles. Unfortunately they didn't make it outside, they were left in a classroom :( Now needing the classroom space we had a group of children perform some TLC and they are now ready to be put into the ground. 
Our next step is to find someone to support us in digging some holes and laying concrete!! 

Room 5 at Matapu: Weeding

Room 5 at Matapu: Week 9: Over the last few weeks we have been weeding our gardens and planning what to plant in them. last week we all got into small groups and loo...

Welcome to Matapu School!

Massive welcome to Matapu School, who are pretty into technology already! When I visited I sat in on a robotics class run by Principal Jarad Chittendon. I learnt heaps, robots weren't something I had played with before! Their enviro leader is Miss Leesha Clark, who is also Matapu School's Year 2/3 teacher.

Marco school worm farm

Marco School worm farm was made from an old bath and some posts. It was put together at the school working bee. 

We shred our paper (that has been used on both sides) and feed it to the worms.

The worms have a nice carpet on top to keep them warm.

The worm wee is used on the gardens.

Welcome to Waitoriki School!

A huge welcome to Waitoriki School. They are out the back of Inglewood, and have 19 students at the school. There is Mr Steenson who is the principal and teacher, Mrs Downer who is our lovely teacher aide, and Mrs Wilkinson who is our sometimes Friday and Thursday teacher. There is also Mrs George who works in the office. Welcome! Can't wait to see what you guys are up to.

Rotokare@Rawhitiroa: Sunnie Sunflowers

Rotokare@Rawhitiroa: Sunnie Sunflowers: Late last year the greens club planted sunflower seeds. Before we finished school for the year, the seedlings were planted out into the...

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Using your iPad to blog

Download the Blogger app for free from the App Store to upload photos and videos taken on the spot from your ipad or from your camera roll.  The app doesn't allow you to find existing labels or manipulate the images, but you could do this from your computer afterwards.

Other possibilities which probably give you more options are Blogsy ($6.49) and Easy Blogger ($3.79) which is specifically design for kids.

Delicious preserves!

Marco School
Plum Jam Preserves
This is how delicious Marco School preserves are... One week and I'm nearly half way through! I look forward to plum jam on toast every morning.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Enviro Learning @ Toko School: Chicken Fun

Enviro Learning @ Toko School: Chicken Fun: Lots of fun playing with the chickens at lunchtime.   They are now in the bigger brooder box.

Art murals

We started by getting a huge piece of wood and some containers of paint, and brushes. We got a subject to paint each. My groups subject was tuatara. Each group got pictures of their subject.

Everyone had a go doing observational drawings of their subject on paper.  We had help from teachers to paint the outline, their was lots of year sixes to do the careful parts, and the younger kids did the background. Our group painted a brown tuatara. My friend Isis was in another group and they got all the light colours, painting a green lizard.  There was also a komokomoko lizard.  It took as a week to finish the paintings. Once they were painted we hung them up on the outside of the wall by the carpark for visitors to see and learn about lizards.  By Claudia

Compost bins and worms

We have left over grass clippings from the lawns that we put in the compost. It would better if we put up a sign about to say that it is the compost so people don't think its messy.

The worm compost is kept in Room Kowhai (Rachel's class) so it can be looked after. Only certain foods go in the worm compost. We can't put in onion, garlic, milk or sugar. And maybe no banana peels.

By Ella

Vege garden and fruit orchard

  We grew seedlings given to us by a local business - Bunnings. Everyone in the whole school was involved. The parents were invited to come and help themselves to the free plants. We grew the vegetable plants just to be different to other schools. We cooked apple and rhubarb pie (with a side of ice cream!) It was delicious. Another class, grew spring onions. They took them home to make chicken noodle soup.

We have a group of parents who come to school to help weed our gardens. I call them the "Busy Bees."

By Claudia

Enviro Plan

The Enviro Group got together to make a plan of things we wanted to achieve during the year. It included what plants we wanted to put in the garden and orchard, projects around the school such as the tyre swing, a pond, and a treehouse. It also included projects relating to existing environmental things such as re-establishing the worm farm, doing a waste audit, and labeling our trees and gardens.

By Isis.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Welcome to Toko School!

Welcome to the blog project Toko School! Toko School are trialling a different way of posting - they are sharing posts from their own enviro-blog so they don't double up on work. To read about their activities or ideas you can click on the link in the post, which will take you to their blog.

A link to their enviro-blog is on the right hand side under 'Related websites of blogs'. They used to have an individual chicken blog and orchard blog, but now they have been combined. Its all about thinking smarter, not necessarily working harder!

Toko Chickens

Below is the link to Toko School's (retired) Chicken blog. They have since combined all their enviro-related blogs into one.  Above is the video from the post.

Toko Chickens: All Things Eggy: Today was a very egg-y / chicken-y day in Room 4. We have so many eggs from our hens that we decided rather than letting them go to waste w...

Toko School Heritage Orchard

To read more click on the link below and it will take you to Toko Schools enviro blog...

Enviro Learning @ Toko School: Heritage Orchard 2012 - 2014:   At  Toko School we are working in partnership with some keen parents and people from our community to create a Heritage Orc...

Toko School Bottle House

Click below to read more about Toko School's bottle house from their enviro blog.

Enviro Learning @ Toko School: Our bottle house is finally completed!On Wednesday...: Our bottle house is finally completed! On Wednesday 20th August we invited Rural Women to come and see the finished product...

Welcome to Hawera Primary School!

A warm welcome to Hawera Primary School for joining the blog project. Leading the Enviroschools at HPS are Rheannah Clarke and Aimee Walsh, with the support of their principal Neryda Sullican.  Great to have you on board!

Fruit trees

Marco School has a large variety of fruit trees. These fruit trees have been happily donated by Mr Stockwell, the Rural Woman’s Group and our community here at Whangamomona, Kohuratahi, and Tahora. But not all the money that is put into our fruit trees is from donations, we also buy fruit trees with the money from our preserves. Oh, sorry I forgot to mention that we also use the fruit that our fruit trees produce and we make preserves. We sell our preserves and make money from them.

Marco art

Marco School art teacher Miss Spencer comes about once a year. We have painted Marco Polo chasing the pig, and then it was the pig chasing Marco however the dog got killed. That’s why our school is called Marco School. We have also made a mural on our school changing shed of a forest with native birds and native trees on.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Murals and Bird Feeders

May Harrison's Mural
Our outdoor art was inspired by May Harrison, a much loved teacher and member of our community who passed away several years ago.  The first mural is in memory of her and was completed at the beginning of 2014.

With the help of our Artist in Residence Barbara Spencer, students designed and painted this fantastic mural.  We were lucky enough to win a Keep New Zealand Beautiful competition for our design and the paints were provided by Resene.

This mural got us all inspired and one of our senior students completed a mural of the oak tree (which is our school emblem), other students created upcycled flower art from rubbish bin lids and bird feeders from plastic bottles.

Plastic Bottle House

Just before pet day last year we finished off our bottle house.  Students looked into different types of greenhouses and their costs using Google. This kind was the greenest and the cheapest, and looked simple for us to build!  Thanks to our lovely local recycling centre and local families, who saved all the bottles for us, we managed to get enough to complete the job.

We also managed to get a grant from Phonak to help with costs of the framing. We raised our tomato and cucumber seedlings last year, but we're hoping it comes into its own this spring to raise a lot more seedlings.

The build was really time consuming, and because our kids are littles, we had to do it bit by bit. We could only get a few bottles on each bamboo pole before some lost interest and we had to move onto a different area of the garden. Something to consider.  We also needed adult to cut bottles.

If we were to give advice we would say to pack your poles tightly together for maximum insulation. We might have to go back and adjust our front with a few extra poles.

Our Bottle House

Worms and Compost

Our worm farm came about because we had issues with stinky rubbish and flies.  Through student led investigation we came up with the idea to create a worm farm. We discovered we had an old one sitting out the back!! We revamped it and set it up alongside our compost bins (made out of recycled wood pallets).

We have a compost bin which classroom scraps are put into. One of our students is responsible for making sure they have enough to eat, and that citrus is kept out. Currently we're waiting with baited breath to produce their first lot of worm wee!

One thing we found over the winter was that we didn't have them covered. We thought they were producing wee but it was just the rain. So kids put a cover to keep dry and also found some old carpet to keep them warm.  

Earth Oven

Marco school earth oven
Our earth oven was made on a very rainy morning with Makahu and Huiakama Schools. We also had the help of Captain Enviro and his girlfriend (we think).

All the kids helped make it.  Mrs Spencer our art teacher, who comes up every 6 months, suggested making it as part of an art project.

Its made out of clay on the top, with glass bottles under the broken concrete to keep all the heat in. On top of the concrete are bricks, then clay bricks (which we made).  Rick (our handy man) made us the small wooden door from ply wood.

We've used it about 10 times - we made delicious pizzas and one time we cooked our pies in it because our power went out! It worked!

Welcome to Marco School

Welcome to Marco School, who are participating in the blog project. They are a small full primary school out past Whangamomona. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Welcome to Huiakama School!

Welcome to Huiakama School, who are participating in the blog project. They are a sole charge school of 17 students, led by principal Gwenda Pease and assisted by a release teacher, and teacher aide (both who are onboard).

Welcome to Moturoa School!

Welcome to Moturoa School who will be participating in the blog project. They have had a significant staff turnover in the last few years and are adamant to retain the school's strong environmental focus.  This year Motoroa are undertaking whole school Enviroschools training - we're looking forward to your contributions!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

What do I put in my post?

What should we write?

There is no set criteria for what to write for each post - you can write about your learning, discussions, or physical projects. Other schools will be able to ask questions about specific details, and you can edit your post at any stage, so don't be too worried about getting it all down and right straight away. Below are some ideas if you're stuck:

The details: 
What: what you have done, added, changed, taken away, thought about, learned, discussed, made plans for etc.
Who: was involved physically, in discussions, outside agencies, teachers at school, other schools etc
Where: community project, school grounds, online, classroom, shared area etc
When: dates, time frame, what stage of the project, etc
How: how it linked to the curriculum, the process, steps you took, decisions you made, etc
Positives: what you liked, thought was beneficial, easy to achieve, what you collaborated on etc
Challenges: what was difficult, problems/barriers you faced, what you
Improvements: what you would do differently - materials, process, people etc
Questions: what you are wondering about, need help with, etc

An example:
What: Setting up the school vege garden
Who: Y7 and 8 Highlands students, Miss Hammonds, Mr Sleep, Bunnings, Alan (the caretaker)
Where: behind the astroturf next to the native tree plot
When: Term 3, 2013

Great things:
  • Bunnings sponsored the build and provided the materials as well as the plants
  • Bunnings staff helped teachers and students with construction and how to plant.
  • We used a 30cm x 30cm grid to plant
  • Mr Sleep and Alan knew how to build!
Challenges we faced:
  • Trying to find a spot to put the garden that everyone was happy with (the caretaker, the principal, the students etc).
  • Organising time out of class for Miss Hammonds and Mr Sleep during the build and gardening
  • There's a (ugly bright orange) fence around the garden to stop the public going into the area (destroying it), but it also prevents students from looking at the garden and using it easily.
  • The garden is next to a semi-pubic walkway
Questions we have:
  • What's the best way to keep the garden going?
  • How do we keep it maintained during the holidays?
  • Who should get to eat/use the produce?

Why are we posting?

Why would we need a Taranaki Enviroschools blog?
A blog could provide a range of benefits for schools. It is a possible platform for enviro-leaders to:
  • Share ideas, questions, and possible solutions to the projects and processes going on in their schools. 
  • Update on activities or discussions at convenient times, without the travel or scheduling required by a meeting or school visit.
  • Have time to leave considered comments, questions, or posts.
  • Self-reflect on their enviroschool's progress.
  • Search the blog for topics of interest, e.g. relating to a possible future project.
  • Access a record of their progress to be used in BOT reports or school documentation.
  • Get to know other enviro-leaders and build a support network.
  • Decide whether a school visit to another school would be relevant to their own progress.
These are what I have envisioned from my time as an enviro-leader. Please comment if you can think of other benefits which you would like listed. 

When, who, and where?

When do we reflect?
After you have completed an initial reflection of your school, you can update what you have been working on during the term. You might want to reflect on a project during its implementation, at the end of the project, or at the end of each term.

Who should write it? Who can comment?
Anyone can post who the school decides should have access - students, teachers, principals etc.

Your existing email can be setup with access to post on the blog. We could also setup a special email for your envirogroup or class. The post will then be published to the public by the facilitators once they have checked for layout issues, grammatical errors etc. This may change in the future depending on school preference.

Comments can be made by members of the blog, of which most participating enviroschools in Taranaki will be.

Where does it go?
Posts are published to the Home page in chronological order (most recent first), but they are also sorted by the labels given to each post. This is why it is important to label with your schools name, and the general topic of the project.

How to begin...

As we move through the Enviroschools journey, it pays to pause now and again to take note of where we have come from and where we are now.

Your first school blog is a way to reflect on what you are proud of in your school or ECE. Some of us love to take photos and do drawings, others can put together powerful presentations or videos, and still others may enjoy writing or telling stories about what they have done.

An easy first step is using photos and descriptions (Photo Shoot p259 of the Enviroschool Kit).

Photo Shoot

You will need:
Digital cameras / ipads
Access to your photos from a computer

1. Take ten minutes to think about things you are proud of in your enviroschool.
2. Walk around the school and try and capture images of things that make you feel proud. this may include some things you thought of ealier and some that occur to you as you walk around.
3. Select 3-4 images showing what you are most proud of in your enviroschool.
Where younger students have taken photographs, older students or adults can interview them about their images, asking:
What did you photograph?
What is it an example of?
4. Record the key aspects of these explanations for each of your selected images.
5. Create a new post, label with your school's name, upload the photos (see Using this blog), and write either captions or text to describe your images.